How is AI Transforming Healthcare?
September 8, 2021
The world has changed.
As technology continues to improve, incredible amounts of data are being collected and analyzed across all sectors of business. Healthcare in particular holds massive stores of information with the potential to revolutionize patient care in amazing ways.
Yet humans are not efficient when sifting through these complex electronic mountains – artificial intelligence (AI) is better suited to perform this job effectively.
What Is AI?
Although the phrase may sound a tad ominous, artificial intelligence is simply a collection of technologies that helps support, automate, and speed up a wide variety of tasks. This assistance ranges from messaging alerts for patient adherence to the detection of important imaging features that may not be visible to the human eye.
According to Forbes, this country spends much more per capita on health care than any other country, and yet the U.S. “ranks 38th in the world in life expectancy, between Lebanon and Cuba.”
Artificial intelligence holds great potential to improve the healthcare industry.
How Is AI Used in Healthcare?
A key benefit of AI is its ability to analyze vast data collections and identify large or small trends – even from data external to the healthcare system:
- Patient clinic-visit statistics
- Prescribed medication information
- Laboratory test records
- Performed procedures
- Credit card purchases
- Census records
- Popular health-related internet searches
- Social media discussions
AI additionally boasts its own “skills” to assist in healthcare activities by providing treatment recommendations, predicting infection risk, and offering a host of other capabilities.
In What Ways Can AI Help Deliver Patient Care?
Artificial intelligence uses machine learning and deep learning to get “smarter” as it processes more information and recognizes useful patterns.
Using computer vision to examine medical images, AI can scan for any indication of abnormal findings such as a lesion, tumor, or retinal disease. Studies have indicated impressive accuracy, specificity, and sensitivity for the detection of small abnormalities. As a powerful tool to assist radiologists, machine learning for medical imaging is predicted to exceed $2 billion by 2023.
Patient Intake and Engagement
AI uses natural language processing to help with patient screening and navigation of care, and it can be used to communicate (via text, for example) with patients to encourage interest and compliance with their treatment plans. This reduction in physicians’ time obviously reduces cost.
While remote health today generally refers to a simple videoconference with a health professional, AI can be used with remote sensors to offer a more comprehensive solution. Eko provides software and sensors to observe cardiopulmonary signs from a distance, for example, and it has been shown to detect atrial fibrillation with 99% accuracy. Medical practitioners range from 70% to 80%.
Are There Other Ways AI Helps Provide Care Within a Hospital?
This technology can be utilized in creative ways within a hospital facility, including:
Predict the Onset of Healthcare-associated Infections
Computer models powered by AI can help providers make educated estimates to pinpoint which patients have an elevated risk of developing central-line infections. Armed with personalized patient information, treatment history, and staff history, these systems may also indicate specific preventative measures.
Optimize Scheduling and Bed Management
Analyzing data regarding discharges, surgery schedules, current patient population, and nursing unit-specific criteria, patient flow can become increasingly automated and efficient.
Monitor Patient Health Status via Real-time Data Collection
Vital signs and other dynamic indicators can be monitored and examined to detect problems like arrhythmias with appropriate notifications to staff.
Accurately Estimate Childbirth Blood Loss
One system takes advantage of computer vision to monitor blood lost during childbirth. While staff estimates of such loss tend to be inaccurate, AI has managed a four-fold accuracy improvement over such estimates.
AI shines with its capacity to reduce time and expense in this area and has demonstrated proficiency with:
- Enforcing patient privacy via intelligent checklists
- Automation of disclosures
- Check-in systems that remind staff to replace equipment on mandated schedules
- Analyze and assign costs for billing
The flexible use of artificial intelligence is growing exponentially in the healthcare industry. Fill out the form below to learn more about these advancements.